Speaker: Lance Jenkinson

The phased deployment of the successful Defense Travel Modernization prototype continues across the Department of Defense (DOD).  The new capability, branded MyTravel, uses SAP Concur’s commercial Software as a Service (SaaS) to book travel, manage travel related expenses, and initiate travel-related financial transactions.

This contract award was the culmination of a years’ long business reform effort that began in 2017 when the Deputy Secretary of Defense directed the establishment of a cross functional team to improve travel performance for the Department. The Cross Functional Team – Travel conducted a review of existing policy, evaluated technical solutions to deliver an enhanced/modernized travel capability, and developed an acquisition strategy for a technical solution.

In August 2018, the Department selected SAP Concur to develop a travel system prototype, referred to as the “Defense Travel Modernization prototype” or “DTM,” aimed at reducing process and workflow complexity, maintaining and enhancing audit readiness, improving customer satisfaction, reducing cost, and aligning to commercial/industry best practices. If the prototype proved successful, it would eventually replace the legacy Defense Travel System (DTS).

During the prototype phase, the Defense Human Resources Activity (DHRA) deployed the capability to over 2,000 users in the Fourth Estate, processing over $1 million in travel reimbursements. Having met the prototype success criteria, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition granted Authority to Proceed to the acquisition, testing, and deployment phase in July 2021, paving the way for the contract award.

With DTS, DOD procures the travel system and Travel Management Company (TMC) Service separately. With MyTravel, the focus is on procuring travel-as-a-service—travel system and TMC services together.

MyTravel will provide DOD with always up-to-date, modern, state of the art travel application that is aimed at reducing process and workflow complexity, maintaining and enhancing audit readiness, improving customer satisfaction, reducing cost, and aligning to commercial and industry best practices.

During GovTravels LITE, members of the travel industry were invited to see a demonstration of MyTravel, presented by DTMO’s Lance Jenkinson. In the demo, Jenkinson booked a trip from Washington, DC, to El Paso, Texas, which included a flight, rental car, and hotel room.

Once the trip cities were input into the system, a pop up provided tax exemption forms for the destination state. It is helpful for travelers to input their frequent flyer and other travel loyalty details into their profile, as those numbers can easily be added to reservations as the various parts of the trip are booked.

Bookings began with the airfare first. A quick matrix showed different carriers in the selected market. The carriers are automatically sorted by policies, then by duration, followed by prices. However, travelers can change this to shop by schedule. Improvements to booking airfare include a better management of seat selections and built-in charge card information which also checks the card is not expired.

Once an airfare is selected, the system processes it and moves on to the rental car booking. Rental car options include integrated rental car agencies, which are all preferred vendors. The system lists these vendors in order of performance response time, which can change. The lowest cost compact car serves as the booking the base line, but travelers can pick other classes of cars with justification.

Throughout MyTravel, series of alerts and icons help travelers know which vendors and options are preferred and which fall within their travel policies. If a traveler makes a selection that falls outside of policy, they can fill out a justification in the system that will be visible to them and their approving official. This justification will also provide information on what they selected and what was the most compliant option.

Following the rental car booking being processed, MyTravel moves on to booking a hotel. The per diem rates are already in the system and travelers can search a map with the available properties. The properties include DOD lodging, preferred Integrated Lodging Program (ILP) properties, and other properties. Travelers can indicate they are on orders to a military installation, which will change the calculations on how lodging policies are applied.

In some instances, e-receipts can integrate directly into the traveler’s expense report. Using a sample “past trip”, Jenkinson showed what information was imported for the traveler.

The demo showcased the many ways the traveler is given optimum amount of choice, which being encouraged to book within travel policies. It also highlighted just how far the Department has come in its efforts to create a modern, easy-to-use travel system for its workforce.


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